Course Title: Create concepts and scripts for television comedy

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2023

Course Code: COMM7359C

Course Title: Create concepts and scripts for television comedy

Important Information:

Please note that this course may have compulsory in-person attendance requirements for some teaching activities. 

To participate in any RMIT course in-person activities or assessment, you will need to comply with RMIT vaccination requirements which are applicable during the duration of the course. This RMIT requirement includes being vaccinated against COVID-19 or holding a valid medical exemption. 

Please read this RMIT Enrolment Procedure as it has important information regarding COVID vaccination and your study at RMIT:

Please read the Student website for additional requirements of in-person attendance: 

Please check your Canvas course shell closer to when the course starts to see if this course requires mandatory in-person attendance. The delivery method of the course might have to change quickly in response to changes in the local state/national directive regarding in-person course attendance.

This course will be delivered through face-to-face classes, interaction with industry mentors, and the learning support material and resources in Canvas.

School: 515T Creative Industries

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6160 - Advanced Diploma of Professional Screenwriting

Course Contact: Alan Woodruff

Course Contact Phone: +61399254307

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Teacher: Kath Dolheguy

Nominal Hours: 140

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

Enrolment in this elective course at RMIT requires you to have completed all first year courses.

Course Description

This course aims to help you develop the skills and knowledge needed to create sketch, sitcom and narrative comedy for television.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

PSWTCO608 Create concepts and scripts for television comedy


1. Develop the concept for television comedy

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Establish purpose, format and market for comedy concept from a brief

1.2 Determine comic premise and character/s based on comedy format

1.3 Determine genre and story arcs appropriate to the format

1.4 Apply principles of narrative humour and/or comic structure based on the comedy format and market


2. Develop the proposal for the comedy

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Create a synopsis that succinctly introduces concept, premise, genre, conventions, format and major storylines

2.2 Develop character/s and character arcs for the comedy

2.3 Write a treatment that summarises the story and character development


3. Develop comedy script

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Develop premise and characters that uses a strong comedic structure, collaborating with other screenwriters as required  

3.2 Contribute to developing a dynamic and engaging story for the comedy

3.3 Participate in building strong character motivation and based on the format, create conflict between characters in a comically and dramatically satisfying way  

3.4 Apply own ideas, techniques and observations to the development of scenes to exploit the comic premise and advance the story

3.5 Ensure conventions of the comedy script are consistent within the prescribed format

3.6 Deliver script to the requirements of the brief

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to develop and write sketch, sitcom and narrative comedy for television.

Details of Learning Activities

You will learn through:
1. In-class activities:

  • teacher directed group activities/projects
  • peer teaching and class presentations
  • group discussion
  • class exercises
  • reading of script
  • rehearsing performers
  • participation in production of scripts


2. Out-of-class activities:

  • independent project based work
  • writing and reading assignments
  • online and other research
  • independent study

Teaching Schedule


Semester 1




Week 1

Introduction to semester and establishing goals. 

What is comedy? What kind of comedy do you want to write? 

Overview of the Assessments for Semester.

Please add sketch/comedy examples to the Discussion thread here: Learning activity 3: Discussion Thread  


Week 2

Gag Definitions – identifying and writing jokes. We go through the list of gag types. We look at a few examples. 

If you have time and want to skip ahead  and do some Monologue prep work. Then check out Resources: Week 4: Character Development  Pages 1-4 &  8-11. 


Week 3

No teacher facing class tonight.

In this time you will find your own examples to demonstrate at least TWO (2) of the gag types from the definition sheet & post them to this THREAD: GAG EXAMPLES 

You will then write 4 of your own jokes & post them to this thread: 

Post your own jokes here:  

Your 4 joke samples must be posted to the thread by 9:30PM Monday 20th.


Week 4

More on monologues & characterisation. 

Monologues in TV & Cinema:
How does the monologue translate to narrative comedy?
Glengarry Glenross, Network, Succession, Curb your Enthusiasm, VO - Clueless, Fleabag, Kath & Kim, Peep Show, Atlanta, 30 Rock, Work in Progress, SNL. 

Development of your characters and monologues in class & collation of feedback for Assessment 1. 

Assessment Task 1: Write and Present Character Monologues 


Week 5


Monologue presentation & feedback session - THIS IS PART C of Assessment 1



Assessment Task #1 due - in class  

The class presentation component of your monologue will happen today in class


Assessment Task #1 due to Canvas - submit your work to Canvas  (March 13)

Please upload your monologues & work to canvas 

Week 6

No CLASS -  Labour Day holiday 


Week 7


Introduction to Assessment 2

Intro to sketch/Sketch Definitions.  Sample comedy sketches.

Development of your Sketch concept- this sketch is a stand alone piece for a sketch style show - to be discussed in class. Outline genre, style, pitch. 

We chat self-contained premise, recurring characters, what ideas are suited to sketches versus long form narrative.

Pitch your concepts & track your feedback.


Week 8

Assessment #2 DUE in class 

5:30-7:30PM - Present pitches 

Part 1 of Assessment  - Present your PITCH  & SKETCH in class

Part 2 of Assessment - upload your work & sketch to canvas 

Note your feedback & amend where needed before you submit

Assessment Task #2 - Upload your work to Canvas-  Create, Pitch & Write a Sketch Comedy Piece
Week 9 

 We watch some Mockumentary & Sitcom scenes


Introduction to Assessment 3 - Overview of next assessment. Character development versus stand alone sketch characters. 

Workshop your sketches in small groups/to class: this forms the feedback part of your assessment.
This 'workshop' of your sketches is intended to mimic a writers room. We will discuss good practice & then implement in small groups. 




Mid-semester break  Fri 7 to Fri 14 Apr, inclusive 


Week 10

We go over the 'Knowledge Test' Assessment  


Knowledge Test Assessment (Assesment Task 1 - Part 2)

 Due April 21

Week 11

Basic sitcom structure & episode Breakdown - 'ME Time'

In groups we breakdown 'ME Time' into threads. 



Assessment Task #3 due May 8  in class & May 19 to Canvas -  submit your work to Canvas: Present Comedy Sketches 

Week 12

What makes a TV Sitcom? An overview of what you need to be developing now for Semester 2.
Single protagonist & Ensembles & the Character family

Create 2 potential concepts that you will present in next weeks class 

Pitching - basic tips on how to pitch in conversation

Bibles - content & presentation - This sets up your first assessment for Semester 2 - Assessment 4.

Assessment Task 4: Create & Present sitcom Proposal  



Week 13

5:30-8:30PM - Sketch Reads in class
(Assessment 3)

Class Reads of Sketches  - present your sketch to class & cast your roles. We will read through all class members work in this class. 

Seek feedback & revise for next week (This forms the feedback requirement of your assessment)


Assessment Task #3 due - in class: Present Comedy Sketches 

Week 14

Present proposed TV series concepts for Semester 2 - to be done in class - Feedback from GUEST SPEAKER  - Notes to be taken on feedback 


Week 15

NO CLASS scheduled



Extensions can only be granted before the assignment due date.


Late assignments will not receive feedback.


Any assignment submitted more than two weeks late without an extension will not be marked. 


Semester 2

KEY:    RED - We're watching a SHOW....BLUE - We're reading a SCRIPT




Week 1


Introduction to the comic premise in sitcom and comedic characters.

How narrative comedy differs. 

Character development: The Square 

30 Rock - Through the prism of the Character square & desire. 

*From this week onwards you will bring a new or reworked logline for feedback every week


Week 2


Narrative comedy.  The dilemma versus the situation versus the story.

What matters? What are stakes? Why do we care? Low stakes versus high stakes. 

Prepare your original sitcom idea pitch for next week.

Quick recap of Bibles - please research bibles  online &  formulate your own aesthetic.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine Pilot

Character Development: The Character Matrix

UCLA outline doc

Outlines - we begin your pilot outline -

Cause and effect - we plot together to demonstrate best practice story lining 

*bring your logline*


Week 3

Mockumentary Narratives: Modern Family Pilot & What We Do in the Shadows 

*Bullet point outline/Excel outline 

*bring your logline*



Week 4


Finalised sitcom synopses presented in class. Assessment # 4.

Each student has 3 minutes ONLY to present 

Community - character & world building 

*bring your logline*

Assessment Task #4 due - in class -  2nd August:


Assessment Task #4 due - Submit your work to Canvas 31st July: Create & Present sitcom Proposal

Week 5


You will be working on your pilot episode outline - this must be ready to present to your allocated group & your teacher in Week 6.

*Bullet point outline/Excel outline 

(Note: You will all be allocated a group by me - please see announcements for meeting times closer to the date)


Swap with your group members at least 4 days before class, read & make notes to run through in class.

Each group will have a meeting with the teacher -  see announcements for the designated time. 
Prior to meeting with the teacher, you will provide your feedback to each other.  

Week 6 groups to send to teacher by Thursday ***th August 

Week 7 groups to send to teacher by Thursday ***th August 


Week 6

Group  Meetings

Work through each others outlines & analyse for Cause & Effect. 

Collate your feedback & revise accordingly. 

Class #1 on outlines

5:30PM - Feedback Group 1

7:30PM - Feedback Group 2


Week 7

Group  Meetings

Please see announcements for details

Each group meets with each other to discuss your outline & receive feedback

Provide the bullet point outline for review in your groups w/teacher 

Class #2 on outlines

5:30PM - Feedback Group 3 

7:30PM - Feedback Group 2

Refine your outlines over the next few weeks - use the break to edit and update based on feedback. 


Please complete Part 2 of Assessment 2 - Knowledge Assessment. Assessment 2 - Task 2 - Knowledge Test  


Mid-semester break: Mon 28 Aug – Fri 1 Sep, inclusive.

*Please have your outlines updated

Week 8

*this class is run in an online format*

How are your Beat Sheets/Pages going?

Are you employing 'Cause & effect'

MEG's Writing exercise 

**In your own time - before next weeks class - watch 'Why are you like this' on ABC iView & Breakdown the pilot episode** 



Week 9

As a class we will go through the pilot episode of 'Why are you like this'

&  'Kath & Kim' 

 using the tools we have been applying to our own work 


Week 10 


Peep Show for Plotting 

(Peep Show UK&US - Tone)

Pilot Outline - Check In. 
5 x page challenge

Submission to teacher by 9:30PM


Week 11

HACKS Pilot - establishing character through action, setting premise  Plotting - creating active characters. Character motivation.  Are your characters in forward motion? 

Be aware - over the next 3 weeks we have table reads - you must bring a pivotal scene - no more than 4 PAGES to at least 2 of the class reads.

Cast your roles BEFORE class & share the PDF with your teacher. 


Week 12

Each student MUST submit pivotal scenes to at least TWO of the feedback sessions. 


Table reads of pilot scenes & Feedback 

Last overview of bible requirements

Table reads of pilot scenes & Feedback 




Week 13


Table reads of pilot scenes & Feedback 

Last overview of bible requirements

Table reads of pilot scenes & Feedback 



Week 14

Table reads of pilot scenes & Feedback 

Last overview of bible requirements

Table reads of pilot scenes & Feedback 


*bring your logline*

. Assessment Task #5 due - Submit to Canvas 22nd October - Original sitcom pilot and series bible 

Week 15

No scheduled classes 



Student support

Your first point of contact for any support needs with your assessments should be your teacher and assessor. If you require further support, you should consider contacting the following support services at RMIT. 

Assessment adjustments

Students requiring support or adjustments for their formal assessments task or exams should contact Equitable Learning Services (ELS), for more information on the types of adjustments provided, access RMIT adjustments to assessment.

Special consideration

If unexpected circumstances affect your ability to complete an assessment you can apply for special consideration.  For more information access RMIT special consideration.


As an RMIT student you are entitled to seek a review of decisions that impact on your studies. For more information access RMIT appeals.

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

You will require access to a computer and to the internet for this course. RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems and access to specialised facilities and relevant software. You will also have access to the library resources.

The University Library has extensive resources and provides subject specialist expertise, research advice, help with referencing and support through:

The Learning Lab

The Study Support Hub

Overview of Assessment

Assessment is ongoing throughout the course. Your knowledge and understanding of course content is assessed through participation in class exercises, pitching sessions,  and through the application of learned skills and insights to your comedy writing tasks.

Assessment Tasks

Students enrolled in Vocational Education and Training qualifications are assessed for Competency. To be assessed as Competent means you have consistently demonstrated the required knowledge and skills at a standard expected in the workplace. To be assessed as Competent in this course, you will need to complete each assessment task to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback from the teacher at the conclusion of each assessment task.

You should refer to the assessment brief which is available through Canvas for full assessment criteria.

Assessment Task 1.1: Write and Present Character Monologues
Due Sem 1, Week 5

For this assessment, you will develop, outline, write and present a comedy monologue for a character from a produced television show of your choice and a second monologue for an original character created by you.

Assessment Task 2 – Comedy Treatment and Sketch
Due Sem 1, Week 8

For this assessment you will develop, pitch (in class) and write a sketch comedy piece.

Assessment Task 1.2: Knowledge Test
Due Sem 1, Week 10

This assessment is a short-answer knowledge assessment designed to assess your knowledge of writing for TV comedy. 

Assessment Task 3 – Write and develop and present treatments and comedy scripts for two genres
Due Sem 1, Week 14

You must write two Comedy Scripts - one intended for a sitcom and one intended for a mockumentary. You will also complete a treatment for both and include your development notes for submission.

Assessment Task 4 – Create and Present sitcom proposal
Due Sem 2, Week 4

Create and Present a sitcom proposal for an original sitcom concept. This will form the basis of the content for your final TV Bible submission, so think of this as a draft bible. 

Assessment Task 5 – Original Sitcom Pilot and Series Bible
Due Sem 2, Week 15

Completing this project allows you to demonstrate your ability to develop and write a pilot for a TV sitcom, together with a bible for the proposed series.

Once you have achieved competency for all assessments in a unit of competency, you will receive an overall result. If you have not completed an assessment task to a satisfactory standard, you will be given an opportunity to resubmit that task within one week of receiving feedback from your teacher. If the resubmission is deemed unsatisfactory, the matter will be referred to the Program Coordinator.


Results that apply to courses that are delivered and assessed in accordance with competency-based assessment are:

CA: Competency Achieved
NYC: Not Yet Competent
DNS: Did not Submit for Assessment

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant unit of competency. These matrices are available through Program Administration.

Other Information

Your learning experience will involve class-based teaching, discussion, demonstration and practical exercises

It is strongly advised that you attend all timetabled sessions. This will allow you to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring you the maximum opportunity to complete this course successfully.

Information about your studies
You can access My Studies through the RMIT website for information about timetables, important dates, assessment dates, results and progress, Canvas etc.

Information on assessment including Special consideration, Adjustments to assessment, (eg. applying for an extension of time):

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. Please refer to the website for more information on this policy.

Credit Transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning
Credit transfer is the recognition of previously completed formal learning (an officially accredited qualification).

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an assessment process that allows you to demonstrate competence using the skills you have gained through experience in the workplace, voluntary work, informal or formal training or other life experiences.  

Please speak to your teacher if you wish to discuss applying for Credit Transfer or RPL for the unit(s) of competency addressed in this course.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview